August 7th 1993

Summit of Mt. Swansia

Dear Diary,

I am at the very top of the legendary Mount Swansia at 4931m above sea level, though I was fairly high to start with. I climbed the whole way, camping overnight in caves and under ridges.

You see, I decided to take out my savings and give myself a holiday. Most of my friends have gone home to their families for the summer, and Hermann and Alba are still on their honeymoon. They went to the Bay of Allecai.

I contemplated taking my holiday there, but decided that it was too near to my old family, too near to Dianna, too near to the Cardingtons as well. I also wondered if I should go to Caravan, because it's supposed to be hot and relaxing, a renowed holiday resort. But my savings couldn't handle the distances; besides, what relaxation can I possibly find on a crowded beach, sitting on one of two thousand deckchairs all squashed up together, getting sunburnt?

So I came here to the mountains. Compass is a beautiful city, quaint and spaced out; the houses and streets aren't crushed together as they are in Melif, though that is a very beautiful town in its own way.

I couldn't stay there, though. I couldn't imagine living in Melif all my life. It's just Plus Dominick is staying with the O'Brians all summer. What if I ran into him again? I couldn't risk it. I don't want to make trouble.

I visited the Moorlands of Circus a few days ago. It's so quiet and tranquil, and has the most delectable air of history, not to mention the most heavenly aroma ever to grace my nosttrils. I could just imagine the green violetear humming birds flitting amongst the violetpines, and sleep all day with that scent an aura about me. It was so safe, ringed by the kindliest mountains. That is where I could live.

Now I am at the top of Swansia, and it is equally magnificent. The view is fantastic to the point of impossible whenever there is a break in the thick clouds below. It's like a whole new world above the clouds, a separate dimension, a third hemisphere, a parallel universe. Nobody but me exists up here. Me and the mountains, and because I am a Mountain, I blend in, still and silent and stately, and revered and awe-inspiring as the best of them.

But now I feel a little cold, an impromtu shiver, a shortness of breath. The air is thin up here and there is no warmth. I should begin my descent. Lay down the pen. Shut the diary. Stir those numb toes down there. Go back down the slope of this mountain, heart of the whole country. You no longer rule the world, Gabrielle. You no longer block from your mind what you want to block out. You no longer have what you came here to have. Peace of mind will vanish as soon as your head descends through the clouds and looks back down on the world.

Your poor dear Dominick Cardington will haunt your thoughts for ever and ever, and there is nothing you can do about it. You should be together, but you can't. Trudy O'Brian got there first. No she didn't. I did.

You left.

Yeah, I did.

The End

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